Tour of Ever After: an anthology review.

tOUR EA

Hello, today I have an another amazing anthology for you from the Fellowship of Fantasy.

Book Description:

36427032_2003913979653615_2197345443757686784_nRescue a princess, meet a mermaid, win your reward.

 The authors of the Fellowship of Fantasy tackle fairy tales from once upon a time to happily ever after. Explore twists on old tales and brand new magical stories. Meet feisty mermaids, friendly lampposts, and heroes who just might be monsters themselves.

 This fourth anthology from the Fellowship of Fantasy will lead you on a quest for entertainment and storm the castle of your imagination. So make a wish and enter the deep dark woods to find stories that will make you laugh, shiver, and maybe even fall in love.

 The best part is it’s free to download! (Paperback will cost you though.)

Amazon Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Ever-After-Fellowship-Anthology-ebook/dp/B07FFMHM8M/

Books2Read Universal Link: https://www.books2read.com/u/bwYKry

Goodreads Listing: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40788623-tales-of-ever-after

The fellowship is also hosting: a Rafflecopter giveaway U.S. Only: (All books are paperbacks, and possibly signed.)

If you are not U.S. that’s okay there’s an International: a Rafflecopter giveaway (All books are ebooks of the winner’s file format of choice)

Now on to my review. I am not sure why I  agreed to review the whole collection. The stories are so short that you can’t really delve into them without spoiling it. But in keeping with my brand of turning your gears, I will provide the full list of stories with their description and why I think it will turn your gears.

Tales of Ever After Author Graphic

 *Story descriptions were written by the author of each story.*

 Cinders by Kendra E. Ardnek

When the fairy Jalia receives a plea for her aid, it seems a routine Cinderella rescue – until she only finds the family’s pet cats.

 Why it turned my Gears: The Cinderella mythos has been done to death. I thought it was impossible to produce an original Cinderella story, I was so wrong. Cinders will take your expectations and turn them on their head. Wonderfully original plot combined with lovable and witty characters.

 At The Corner of Elm & Main by H. L. Burke

A sweet-natured lamppost dreams of seeing the world. When magic grants his wish, how will he use it? 

Why it turned my Gears: An original tale about an ordinary everyday object that is granted mobility for one night. This doesn’t turn the thinking gear so much as the feeling gears. It has a heart touching ending with a satisfying payoff.

 Tears of the Sea by Savannah Jezowski

When Le Rae indulges her fascination with the forbidden sand walkers, she discovers more than danger in the shallow waters.

 Why it turned my Gears: An original tale reminiscent of The Little Mermaid, but the best part is that it isn’t a romance. It makes you think, simultainiously about being willing to open your mind to new ideas and people who are different from you, while also learning to be content with where you’re at and what you have. At least that was my take away.

 Steelhand by Ashley Capes

When a man with a mechanical hand hears a woman’s ethereal voice calling for help, he must brave the steel forest to rescue her from a foul Alchemist.

 Why it turned my Gears: Steam Punk Sleeping Beauty need I say more? Okay a little bit more. In the story the hero is told to take three random objects with him on his quest: a lemon, a tin soldier and an Axe. You’re never going to figure out how they get used. Very cool plot elements bring originality to a familiar favorite.

 King or Beggar by D. G. Driver

When a king’s spoiled, conceited daughter refuses and insults every nobleman asking for her hand in marriage, he stops giving her a choice.

 Why it turned my Gears: This is a retelling of a little known fairy tale called King Thrushbeard. As a child, the dollar store had fairytale VHS tapes. The one I watched to death was King Thrushbeard. Why I loved it I really can’t say. It might have had something to do with me figuring out the twist and being delighted that I was right. Thank you D. G. Driver for bringing this pleasant childhood memory back to life.

 The Girl Who Talked by Birds by Kristen S. Walker

A young girl’s already isolated existence is worsened by the emergence of strange abilities.

 Why it turned my Gears: Wonderful original tale about an ordinary girl who discovers she is special. Really cool human and bird interactions. I love that the birds are still very bird like and aren’t personified too much. I also enjoyed that it was light hearted in tone. Anyone who likes “origin” stories should enjoy this one.

 The Princess and the Stone-Picker by Sarah Ashwood

“Those whose eyes are nearest to the ground are those who see its treasures.” A humble stone-picker’s mysterious remark sends a spoiled princess pursuing answers.

 Why it turned my Gears: The inciting phrase of this story, can be taken literally or figuratively. Either way you interpret it, this princess’s discovery is one that we can benefit from.

 Wake the Moon by Annie Louise Twitchell

Demons laugh, light fades, and Jesse must battle his own darkness to wake the sleeping girl.

 Why it turned my Gears: Wake the moon is at first glance, based on sleeping beauty, but it has some native American overtones, so I’m not sure if there is another fable at play here. Either way this short story reads like a novel in terms of character growth and the amount of nuance added to the protagonists everyday life. I mean, Jesse listens to Owl City. Okay maybe I just gave it high marks for name dropping my favorite artist.

 The Greatest Adventure by J.M. Hackman

A beautiful slave girl, hidden Fire Diamonds, and a wily dragon give Firebrand Aideen Siriol his greatest adventure yet.

 Why it turned my Gears: I love Aideen. He has spirit and drive, and the princess may be dead, but gosh darn it, he came to rescue somebody. So that’s what he does.

 Third Princess by Emily Martha Sorensen

The youngest of three always succeeds after the older two fail. But what if the older two aren’t willing to fail?

 Why it turned my Gears: Okay so to love this story you have to understand that there is a fairy tale troupe of three sisters, and the oldest two are always either too stuck up or too lazy or too independent to be the one the kingdom needs. As the oldest of three I hate this troupe. So when I saw that, Third Princess was going to turn this troupe on it’s head I was excited. Also the oldest princess in this story is totally me.

 A Week after Midnight by Alex McGilvery

The prince is so shy he needed a ball to find a wife. What will he do when she moves in?

 Why it turned my Gears: I really loved the Prince being an introvert in this story, it explains a lot about the Cinderella tale. The story is unique in this collection, in that for an anthology titled Tales of Ever After, it’s the only one that picks up after “happily ever after.”

 Being Seen by Gretchen E. K. Engel

Just because Ilmara is invisible, doesn’t mean she doesn’t exist.

 Why it turned my Gears: If I was asked to choose one story from this collection to be turned into a movie. My choice would be, Being Seen. It invokes visuals in my mind that beg to be seen (pun intended). An invisible girl who dyes her hair and skin just to be accepted, it’s a powerful message.

 The Quest for a Wide-Awake Princess by Lia London

Prince Jack needs to find a suitable princess, but he’d settle for one who’s not snoring.

 Why it turned my Gears: If it’s not sleeping princesses, it’s one’s who want to sleep but can’t. This story is the funniest of the lot. Told in the grand tradition of farce, Puns abound and the gags are over the top. I really love the ending though. It’s a good twist to this original take on the sleeping princess troupe.

 How to Hide a Prince by E.J. Kitchens

Princess Fiona is destined to save a prince, but would kissing a talking frog free a prince, or curse them both?

 Why it turned my Gears: Who is the prince? The enchanted frog, or the boy who stopped Fiona from kissing it? This is the question that kept me guessing throughout the whole story. And the answer is as satisfying as the asking.

 Believing Fairytales by Arthur Daigle

Some fairy tales are true. The dangerous ones are partly true.

 Why it turned my Gears: What a twist! I want everyone to read this anthology just for this story. This is an original story about Nestor a young man who works at an ancient shrine. And when bandits break in searching for a hidden relic Nestor warns them that they have the story all wrong. IT will make you think and feel things that you never thought you could think or feel.

 The Loathly Princess of Edimor by L. Palmer

Princess Selene always gets her desire. When she asks to escape a marriage by transforming into a swan, the witch who helps her has other plans.

 Why it turned my Gears: The last is certainly not least in this fairy tale collection. From what I can tell L. Palmer’s story is an original story, but loosely inspired by the swan princess. I could be wrong. Anyway, the story is slightly humorous, with a good witch who just can’t get people to listen to her, a young man who finds the old woman his family has taken in preferable to the princess he is engaged too, and a princess betrayed, by literally everyone. But hey she had it coming.

 Also I forgot to mention that there is a Comment Giveaway:

The person who leaves the most comments across the blog tour will receive the chance to read special sneak peaks from several of the authors’ upcoming works!

This is usually where I would post the full blog schedule, but this doesn’t really need to be any longer so if you want to go back through and leave comments on any other post you can access them all from here: Tales of Ever After Tour. 

Not sure what to comment about?

Which of the Tales of Ever After are you most excited to read?

What is your favorite Fairy Tale? Did they forget to include it in the anthology? Tell us about it.

Once upon a Princess blog tour and a FANtastic interview.

Once Upon A Princess Blog Tour

Hello dear readers,

Today I am adding even more books to your reading pile, by introducing you to an entire series at once.

The good news: all of the books are available now, so you can binge read it all without waiting for the next one to release.

The better news: The first book, Beauty’s Curse, is a free ebook on all reading platforms. Get it here: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Kobo // Google Play // iBooks

Don’t forget to add it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28781837-beauty-s-curse

If free is not enough to tempt you, read this blurb:

About Once Upon A Princess Saga

“I have better things to do.” 
“Like what?” Rose asked. “Waste your life on a fool’s journey, under a silly girl’s orders?” 
“I have never considered saving your life to be the same as wasting mine, Rosary.” He came and stood in front of her, the ease of his presence replaced by an unusual heat rather than familiar warmth. Rose had never before been bothered by the six inches he stood taller than her, but all of a sudden the shadow of his strength imposed itself on her. 
The cursed beauty of the moonlight revealed the clarity and sharpness of his eyes as she gazed up at him. “What if you did waste your life though? What if?” 
“If I have wasted my life, I have wasted it on you. Willingly.” 

 For four years, Princess Aurora of Rhone—Rose to her friends—has searched the world for a way to break the curse placed on her by Magdalina, the wicked ruler of the fairies at war with her kingdom. Under the curse, Rose is doomed to die on her eighteenth birthday after pricking her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel. And time is running out.

 On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Rose makes the journey home with her friends—Theo, a priest with a penchant for revenge; Mary, a young and talented fairy; and Ethan and Sophia, siblings with a troubled past–as pressure from her father, King Stefanos, leaves her with two equally unsatisfying options: Abdicate the throne, or get married.

 Enjoy this novella series retelling of the Sleeping Beauty, with new characters, new plot twists, and plenty of action and adventure. Perfect for teen and young adult historical fantasy readers.

 Once Upon A Princess Saga

The series is four books: Beauty’s Curse, Beauty’s quest, Beauty’s Gift, and Beauty’s Kiss.

Want to participate in a treasure hunt?

 At the end of each book in this series is a special collectible clue. Collect all four books, and get all four special prizes, FREE!

***

To help celebrate the completion of her series, I asked C.S. Johnson some FANtastic questions:

Me: The Once Upon a Princess series is called a Historical Fantasy retelling of Sleeping Beauty. Can you define Historical Fantasy for us? What makes this version Historical?

 C.S: I tell people that this fairytale is set in between the historical European historical world with a few imaginary kingdoms thrown in. I have Greece and the Romani nations, and I have plenty of other references to history (Aragon, Gaul, etc.) but Rhone, Rose’s kingdom, is made up, and so are a few of the others. So you still have the socio-economic barriers of the Middle Ages, but you also have a mishmash of magical creatures, different species, and supernatural creatures. There are also issues with religion, politics, and social concerns just like there would be in real life. 

 If I had to put it on a map, I like to think it’s the part of land between Ireland and England the rest of Europe that’s now underwater. I think it’s a great way for all the fairy kingdoms and the pixies to hide their homes.

 Me: Good definition. Beauty’s Curse did have a very historical feel to it. And I like that idea of the faerie realm being underwater.

 How many versions of Sleeping Beauty did you research before deciding on how you wanted to tell your own story? Was there one you feel inspired you more than the others?

 C.S: I feel bad about this one, because I really only researched the Grimm fairy tale and the Disney version, and of course, the slap-dash post-modern nightmare that Disney made with Maleficent a few years ago. I hate things from all of them, to be honest. I especially hated how the princess is more or less at the mercy of other people’s choices from the very beginning. I don’t think any teenager princess would be willing to take that, no matter how charming and graceful and beautiful she is. 

 Me: Never feel bad for watching Disney movies. While we are on the subject of movies . . .

  If your series were made into a movie tomorrow, do you have a dream cast ready to give the director?

 C.S: I don’t really have a dream cast. I’m in love with my imagination, and I tend to live there for my entertainment needs more than I do here. 

 Me: Okay, I will let the director know, you prefer to use unknown actors. ;-D

 Your series features Fairies and magic, but it also has priests and Christians and scripture. How did you reconcile using these two seemingly different forces (God and magic) in the same story?

 C.S: This is a fairly consistent stance I have when it comes to faith. It says in the Bible that man is different from the Stars and Angels, and Jesus was unique in that he made himself like humans rather than the others. Angels have supernatural abilities and jobs, so I don’t see anything wrong with including angels, like Amalia, in my stories. I actually used the premise about the Stars for my fallen star superheroes in The Starlight Chronicles. It says in the Bible that humans are not meant to play with sorcery or consult with witches, and I really take this to mean that we, as humans, are not meant to play with or try to use magic. But for other creatures, especially magic and (so far as I know) imaginary ones?  I would see their magic as an innate trait, as Mary says, and like any ability, it would have limitations and rules placed on them by God and reinforced by their consciences. Of course, they would be fallen creatures, as we are, and they live in a fallen world, as we do, so they would have mostly-good and mostly-bad characters, same as humans do, because we are capable of both. I don’t see the two forces as competing forces, in the end; for me, God would have had to have designed them and granted them that free will and ability.  

 Me: I love that answer. And I have always been fascinated with the idea of stars as beings, more than just superheated balls of burning gas.

 Beauty’s Curse makes reference to at least one other classic fairy tale. If you could live the life of a Fairy Tale Princess, which one would you pick?

 C.S: If I could pick one, it would probably be “Beauty & the Beast.” I love love-hate stories. They’re really so good because they have a better understanding that people are at odds with other people, and when people come together, they become better people. I’m a very strong believer that love makes you a better person, even if it’s painful. Especially if it’s painful.

  Me: The perfect answer. I also adore all things Beauty and the Beast. Which begs a question. . .

 Now that Rose’s story is finished, are you planning on tackling any other fairy tales?

 C.S: I like fairy tales, I really do. I like the simple truth of their stories. I like that good and evil are brought out into more obvious terms, and I like that there is a lot of hope and redemption through courage and honor. But I don’t think I’d like to rewrite any other specific ones. Writing this one started out on a half-dare, from my students in my English class, when I explained how much I didn’t like Sleeping Beauty that much as a story. 

 I will say I’m still going to write them, but I like to borrow different elements from them and try to come up with my own scenarios. For example, Eydis: The Island of the Dragon Bride, is my latest novella, and it borrows things from the Atlantis myth, dragon myths, the traditional ‘damsel-princess-in-distress’ trope, and parts of Icelandic and Bermuda folklore. Ultimately, I like to ask my audience difficult questions—about faith, about life, about reality and how we can really know things—and I find fantasy and fairy tales are very lulling ways to do this without getting people angry (or angrier, in some cases.)

 Me: I love that you want to write original stories. Rose’s story was definitely the most original retelling of sleeping beauty I have ever read. Thank you for taking the time to share with my readers about your series.

 ***

CS Johnson             About the Author

C. S. Johnson is the author of several young adult novels, including sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles series, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 25th

Book Spotlight – The Twirling Book Princess

 Tuesday, September 26th

– Book Spotlight – Michaela Mills

 Wednesday, September 27th

– FANtastic Interview –You are here

 Thursday, September 28th

– Book Review – Amanda’s Books and More

 Friday, September 29th

– Author Interview – Aconite Cafe

 Saturday, September 30th

– Book Review – Rachel Poli – I read. I write. I create.

Author Interview – Official Blog of Shannon A. Hiner

 Monday, October 2nd

– Author Interview – Liv K. Fisher

– Review – Mom with a Reading Problem

 Tuesday, October 3rd

– Review – Zernia Blossom’s Books

 Wednesday, October 4th

Book Review – A Book A Day

– Review – Zernia Blossom’s Books

– Author Interview – So Few Books

 Thursday, October 5th

Book Review – True YA Book Blogger

 Friday, October 6th

– Author Interview – Lands Uncharted

Book Spotlight – Rachel Lopez

Once Upon A Princess FB Party Banner – FACEBOOK PARTY – 8:30PM EST

 Saturday, October 7th

– Book Review – Rachel Poli – I read. I write. I create.

– Book Review – Official Blog of Shannon A. Hiner

 Monday, October 9th

– Wrap-Up Post – Unicorn Quester